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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

EDUCATION IN THE ROMAN EMPIRE        77

Latin literature as he learned it from his new teachers, the
" grammarians," and especially Virgil's Mndd^ gave him great
delight. " c One and one are two, two and two are four * was a
hateful song to me, but the wooden horse full of armed men and
the burning of Troy and the spectral image of Creusa were a
most pleasant spectacle of vanity."* He returned from Madaura
at the age of fifteen, and passed a year at home because his father
was too poor to let him continue his studies. Then with the help
of a kindly patron he spent three years in the study of forensic
rhetoric at Carthage, and in spite of his vicious conduct took first
place among his fellows. At the age of twenty he became a teacher
of rhetoric, and set himself to extend his knowledge by a study
of philosophy and " the so-called liberal arts." To his great
delight he found that he could understand Aristotle's Categories
from his own reading, while others, who had the assistance of
"very able men," regarded the book as almost incomprehen-
sible. And so with the other arts: " Whatever was written on
rhetoric or logic, geometry, music or arithmetic, I understood
without any great difficulty and without the teaching of any
man."f

The groundwork of Augustine's education, it will be seen,
was a thorough training in literature and rhetoric; and in this
respect his case was quite typical. Almost the only individual
feature of his course of study was his concern with philosophy
and the liberal arts, after he had completed the ordinary work
of the schools. As his account of this particular part of his
education shows, there were various subjects outside the usual
routine of instruction, which if taken at all had to be learned
under special teachers, or mastered by private study. As a matter
of fact, there was a considerable diversity in the treatment of
these subjects in different parts of the Empire. Athens, Alex-
andria, Rome and the other centres of specialized learning, while
making provision for grammar and rhetoric, followed their own
lines in advanced studies, and their fortunes were intimately
connected with the subjects which found favour with their teachers
and students. Partly for this reason, partly because some of these
subjects came to occupy the foremost place in higher education
in later centuries, a special interest attaches to this ph^se of
educational development.

* i, 9,13,14.               f fr> i6f